Polylactic Acid (PLA)
What exactly is it?
SelfEco offers cutlery, cups, bowls, plates, and many other partyware supplies made from a biopolymer called PLA (polylactic acid). PLA is made from starchy renewable plants like corn, switch grass, and sugar beets grown right here in the U.S. Starch from these materials are processed into a biopolymer that looks, acts, and performs like its traditional, harmful cousin: petroleum-based plastics.
Why do we use it?
PLA performs much like traditional plastics, but with the crucial benefit of being 100% compostable in commercial compost facilities. We use PLA because it is versatile, compostable, and best of all, not petroleum-based. All of our products and even our compostable cutlery is made from PLA. In cutlery, the formulation of PLA is rigid and durable — perfect for high-strength needs and of course, commercial composting! The use of PLA provides an improved environmental footprint:
- Reduces greenhouse gases
- Requires significantly less fossil fuels
- Offers more post consumer and commercial disposal options
What's cool about it?
Most plastics are derived from petroleum, or oil. Oil is our most valuable resource in many ways. It's also a resource that comes with a lot of negative environmental and social impacts. Our PLA products give you the option of products made from renewable resources, like plants instead of oil. Plants can be grown again and again, unlike oil which is nonrenewable. PLA plastics have the added benefit of being compostable when you are finished using them. Composting is an opportunity to divert waste that would otherwise be landfilled — and by composting, you create valuable nutrients in the soil so that plants can grow again.
Where do we get it?
We source all of our food-safe PLA Ingeo™ Bioplastic from Natureworks, LLC. Natureworks is the first to offer a family of commercially available biopolymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with cost and performance that compete with petroleum-based packaging materials and fibers. They apply their unique technology to the processing of natural plant sugars to create the proprietary polylactide polymer marketed under the Ingeo™ brand name.